What is the Helix?
The Helix is a DIY hardware and software system that allows you to create a professional looking synchronized light show at a fraction of
the cost of the commercial systems. The Helix is one of the most advanced DIY light controllers available. Using the freeware application
and the Helix Network Supervisor application
you can synchronize your Christmas (or other holiday) display to music.
The hardware is designed to be a distributed architecture. This allows you to put the devices that actually switch the lights, called Solid State
Relays (SSR), close to the lights. This can greatly decrease the amount of extension cords necessary. With a single Cat5 jumper cable and a single
power cord you can place as few as four and as many as 32 SSRs next to the lights they control. The four channel SSRs enclosures are very small,
approximately 4"(H) x 3"(W) x 1.5"(D). This makes for a very clean and neat installation.
The standard Helix hardware consists of one main board
, three daughter boards
and 32 four channel SSRs for a total of 128 light channels. Each of
these channels has 256 levels of dimming for maximum control of your display. This configuration gives you the most flexible layout options.
If there are areas of your display that require high channel counts then you can replace one of the daughter boards and eight of the four channel SSRs
with a single SSR daughter board
. The SSR daughter board allows you to control 32 channels at up
to a total of 60A.
The main thing that sets the Helix apart from the other DIY controllers, and most of the commercial controllers, is its ability to operate as a
standalone controller comes standard. You don't need to have a PC running just to run your show. With the Helix you can store the sequences,
MP3 songs and the schedule on a MicroSD card. The MicroSD card plugs into a socket on the main board. The Helix will read the show schedule off
of the MicroSD card and at the correct time start displaying the show. The songs are played on a MP3 player that plugs into the main board.
The output of the MP3 player can be connected to a small FM transmitter so everyone can enjoy your show from the comfort of their vehicle.
The show repeats until the scheduled shut down time. In between shows you can play songs without flashing the lights. Additionally you can have
different shows and/or multiple shows every night of the week. All of this automatically happens every day until it is time to take the display down.